Quarantine into Civil Unrest (or I Still Don’t Know What I’m Doing)

Posted: June 10, 2020 in Uncategorized
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Before you read my blog, read Khaya Ronkainen. Her poetry chapbook From the Depths of Darkness, took me on a heart wrenching and emotional journey.

Before you look at my horror photography pictures on Insta, check out @love_paperdoll who did the sickest Beetlejuice cosplay and @yoyosuicide who has fantastic horror tribute shots.

Before you check out my dwindling horror tweets, check out @AshleeTakesNote, @BlackGrlsHorror, and @blacula who know the genre better than I do.

***

Well, it seems like quarantine has come to an end, though it is up for debate as to whether the pandemic is behind us. It seems to be more of a political debate on social media than a public health question anymore, which is absolutely maddening as it muddiest the waters of decision making.

While I would love for the worst of it to be behind us, I don’t feel like it will be over that simply. I fear we will see at least another wave, perhaps more devastating than the first if history repeats. But only time will tell, and the wait and the uncertainty are torture.

But sometimes, history seems to converge. America did not take a break from its bullshit during the pandemic. Black people continued to get killed by the police, and videos continued to surface. When the video of George Floyd’s death got out, the entire country was largely still locked down, all watching with rapt attention, no longer distracted by their own lives, pent up and full of rage.

Minneapolis (where our families live) erupted, and so many other cities around the world responded with their own protests and riots. It is a response that is long overdue, that could have happened for so many deaths before his, but it happened now when these factors in history aligned.

There are MANY people with more to contribute on this topic than I can. I was insulated by my privilege my entire childhood. I was not really introduced to the extent of what that meant until I was in an interracial relationship, especially when we briefly lived in The South, and started raising a mixed family. So I go through this event as an ally on the outside, with part of my heart directly affected on the inside.

I don’t want to be silent because I am not compliant with how wrong things are. I don’t want to speak when it is not my conversation and not my turn to have my voice heard. I want to be an ally, but I don’t want to be told how to do it right because that is not someone else’s job to teach me. I want to try, even knowing I am going to do it wrong and fail over and over. But mostly, I want to get my children, particularly my child who cannot pass as white, through this and prepared the survive all the bullshit the world has waiting for them without destroying their childhood.

In short, I have no idea what I’m doing. Much like going through a pandemic, I am just at a loss. I feel like I am treading water as the waves keep crashing over my head.

I don’t have the scripts or life experiences to explain to my children how these things might affect them, how they might happen to them in their lives. My parents taught me about racism and hate when I was young, but it is such a different conversation to tell a child about something happens to other people versus something that could happen to them or their family. A “don’t do this” versus a “be scared of this” distinction.

I don’t know how to teach my daughter to be the only brown body in a classroom, the only curly head on a dance team. I only know the things white people tell themselves, which I have learned over and over are often only to make ourselves feel more comfortable. I can only speculate from the sidelines, defer to my partner who has lived that life.

I usually don’t know what I’m doing as a parent, usually am fumbling through at best; however, this level of ignorance makes me feel helpless, makes me feel worthless to them as their mother. I can only be as transparent as possible and seek the wisdom I lack from other sources. It will take a village to raise these children, even if that village is current convening via Zoom.

As the coronavirus and the protests slip from the news (yet both continue to happen), I cringe at the thought of the next surreal event to come surging on the horizon. I’ve heard murder hornets, asteroid, Yellowstone volcano. I can’t even tell the different between real and sensationally fake news anymore. At this point, I would not be entirely surprised (or upset) if alien overlords decided to land.

I only hope these major events channel us towards change. I hope a global pandemic directs us to better healthcare. I hope protests demand equality and justice. I am happy to suffer (especially at this low grade inconvenienced level of suffering) for things to get better.

 

Christina Bergling

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Comments
  1. Christina, you raise a very good point, “I don’t want to be silent because I am not compliant with how wrong things are. I don’t want to speak when it is not my conversation and not my turn to have my voice heard. I want to be an ally, but I don’t want to be told how to do it right …” And being in an interracial relationship like you, I understand what you mean and when you say, “A “don’t do this” versus a “be scared of this” distinction.”

    You say there are many people with more to contribute on this topic than you can. And I say, this article, as well as any of your work as a writer, are as important as any contribution on this topic. Because every voice counts, and every perspective is relevant. As you’ve already mentioned, we shouldn’t tell anyone how to do it right. So, all I can say and as Hemingway once suggested, write hard and clear about what hurts. Your story matters, too.

    And thank you so much for the acknowledgment of my article, and shout out for my book. Much appreciated!

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  2. I think a lot of us are not sure where we fit in on this conversation, particularly because most of us were always told to keep quiet, mind our place, and let the (white) men in the room tell us what to think. When we are raised to conform, first we have to get over the shock that we have been played by our own complacency…Then we have to learn not only how to STAY awake, but to accept the clumsy attempts to right the wrongs we were buffaloed into endorsing. We each have our own journey to take here… mistakes, no doubt will be made, but then mistakes mean we are finally taking action. And THAT is long overdue…

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  3. […] Quarantine into Civil Unrest (or I Still Don’t Know What I’m Doing) […]

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